Each week, we'll be scouring the net for team rankings, from football experts, covering the previous week, and discussing them here. Let's see what they have to say this week. CBS Sports - Pete Prisco - 2nd (+2): Isn't it appropriate to the see them up here with the Patriots? They find a way to get it done even with a ton of injuries. (I know Pete is trying to compliment the Colts, but that just sounds so... so wrong.) Cold Hard Football Facts - 2nd (+3): Dwight Freeney ended a four-game sackless streak Sunday, the longest since the start of the 2006 season; in 2008 and 2009, he had at least one sack in 16 of his 23 starts. (Don't get me wrong, I love watching Peyton and the offense put up big numbers. But there's some deep-seated, animal lust that's fulfilled when Free and the defense pound the opponents into submission. Almost makes me feel dirty. Is that wrong?) ESPN - Kuharsky - 5th (+1): Remarkably, the injury-depleted Colts are back atop the AFC South. (And how is this possible? Peyton Manning, Peyton Manning, and Peyton Manning.) Fox Sports - 3rd (+3): You have to be impressed with their victory over the visiting Texans considering how many players were missing or came into the game injured from both sides of the ball. Once again, the Colts showed that they are the class of the AFC South. This week's game at Philadelphia will be a good test for their banged up defense. (So, with Vick back under center, what will be the defensive key? Having corners Lacey & Powers back, or will the linebackers need to step up?) National Football Post - 5th (+1): Surprise—the Colts are back in first place in the AFC South. (What do you think? Was there sarcasm here, or were the boys at NFP all ready to write Indy's obituary?) NFL.com's Collective Brain Trust - 4th (+3): (Three spots is a big jump. The reason? Peyton Manning, Peyton Manning, and Peyton Manning.) Michael Silver - 5th (+1): Who’s hotter after dark – Hugh Hefner and friends or Peyton Manning and friends? (OK, that's just wrong. I mean, have you seen Hugh Hefner lately? And..... moving on.) Sporting News - 4th (no change): This one's easy. Is it possible Peyton Manning keeps growing in value every season? (Was Abe Lincoln honest?) Sports Illustrated - Don Banks - 4th (+1): As Monday night's win over Houston illustrated perfectly well, Indy still knows how to find those unsung offensive talents. Everyone frets about no Joseph Addai, and Mike Hart gets 15 touches for a career-best 103 yards against Houston. No Dallas Clark, but Jacob Tamme catches six passes for 64 yards and his first NFL touchdown. No Austin Collie, but Pierre Garcon and Anthony Gonzalez combine for 11 receptions for 133 yards.Average Ranking: 3.85 (previously 5.38) - Big jump from last week, but my comment is almost identical: Injuries continue to mount, and rankings continue to... rise?
When Peyton Manning goes down, that's when it's time to worry in Colts-ville.
(La Laa Laaaaa... We don't allow talk about 18 getting hurt here.)
Sports Illustrated - Peter King - 5th (+1): The Colts probably couldn't have asked for a better time to have 15 days between games. They've had some good rehab time. Reggie Wayne's back to near full health.
(18-game / 20-week season with two byes and freedom to move players between practice squad and 53-man roster. Whadya think?)
USA Today - 5th (+2): Got revenge vs. Texans to seize first place in AFC South.
(Was it really revenge? Is the Indy/Houston 'rivalry' really that intense? Am I the only one who thinks not?)
Walter Football - 2nd (+1): 4. I hope Mike Hart (12-84) is OK after apparently injuring his ankle because he's the best running back on the team. Hart is small and slow, but runs with such will and passion. I guess you can say he runs with a lot of heart. Hmm... heart, Hart... has anyone thought of this before? (see link for more)
(Gosh no, Walter. Never thought of the whole Hart/heart thing.)
WEEI in Boston - 4th (+1): Peyton Manning continues to impress. No. 18 has shown time and time again that he can get the job done no matter what personnel makes up his receiving corps. On defense, Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis are nightmares for opposing offensive lines and quarterbacks.
(I have yet to disagree with these guys, and that worries me.)